Fair Use Blog

Archive for October, 2007

Part IV of Benjamin Tucker’s Instead of a Book (on Socialism) is now online

Part IV of Benjamin Tucker’s Instead of a Book, by a Man Too Busy To Write One, on Socialism, is now available in full in the Fair Use Repository‘s online edition of the work. This adds several newly transcribed essays focusing on the meaning of socialism, arguing that Anarchistic Socialism is the most consistent form of socialism and arguing against the common assumption that socialism is synonymous with State monopoly over production. The essays newly available are:

  • Socialism: What It Is, which argues that the word Socialism should be proudly claimed, or reclaimed, by Anarchists, in spite of the appropriation of the word by State Socialists. Tucker argues that Anarchistic Socialism is the most consistent form of socialism.
  • Armies That Overlap, in which Tucker claims (against the claims of the paper Twentieth Century) that Anarchism and Socialism, properly defined, are neither coextensive nor exclusive; they are two overlapping struggles.
  • Socialism and the Lexicographers, which compiles a large list of dictionary and encyclopaedia definitions of the word Socialism in response to State Socialists’ recent attempts to use a dictionary definition to read Anarchists out of the socialist movement.
  • The Sin of Herbert Spencer, discussing the apparent class bias in Spencer’s later work, which Tucker interprets as attacking only government privilege for the poor, while remaining silent about government privilege for the rich. Tucker also praises the work of Spencer’s English followers, especially Auberon Herbert, as more consistent.
  • Will Professor Sumner Choose? addresses remarks by the liberal political economist William Graham Sumner, arguing that while his arguments against State Socialism are quite telling, consistency demands that he should endorse the radical laissez-faire position of Anarchistic Socialism.
  • After Freiheit, Der Sozialist responds to a polemical attack on the German edition of Liberty by a State Socialist newspaper.
  • State Socialism and Liberty argues that State monopoly over the means of production necessarily involves tyranny, and that free individual people must be able to withdraw and form their own arrangements at will.
  • On Picket Duty discusses arguments from the English Marxist Edward Aveling on the tyranny of State Socialism, the relationship between individualist anarchism and communist anarchism, the relationship between individualist anarchism and laissez-faire classical liberalism, gradualists who see State Socialism as part of a transition to Anarchism, and Terence Powderly’s attacks on Oscar Wilde.

Shows of Force without War under Anarchy in medieval Iceland

[From comments in response to Catallarchy 2005-12-09: Gang warfare without the warfare.]

Interestingly enough, these kind of displays were a common element of stateless arbitration in medieval Iceland, as well. Here’s Jesse Byock, in Viking Age Iceland:

The absence of pitched battles does not mean that the island inhabitants eschewed all forms of militant show, only that they ritualized the actual use of force. Parties to a dispute that was moving toward resolution frequently assembled large numbers of armed baendr [freeholders]. Sometimes these groups confronted each other for days at assemblies and at other gatherings, such as when a successful party was trying to enforce a judgment at the home of the defendant (féránsdómr). Althought opposing sides often clashed briefly, and a few men might be killed, protracted battles were consistently avoided. It was not by chance that the parties showed restraint. Leaders really had few options if they hoped to retain the allegiance of a large following, since the baendr were not dependable supporters in a long or perilous confrontation. They had no tradition of obeying orders, maintaining discipline, or being absent from their farms for extended periods. The godhar, for their part, were seldom able to bear the burdens of campaigning. They lacked the resources necessary to feed, house, equip and pay followers for more than a brief period.

Rather than signalling the outbreak of warfare, a public display of armed support revealed that significant numbers of men had chosen sides and were prepared to participate in an honourable resolution. With chieftains and farmers publicly committed, a compromise resting on a collective agreement could be reached. (p. 125)

Part III of Benjamin Tucker’s Instead of a Book (on Land and Rent) is now available in full

Part III of Benjamin Tucker’s Instead of a Book, by a Man Too Busy to Write One, on Land and Rent, is now available in full in the Fair Use Repository’s online edition. This adds the following new transcribed essays.

There are a series of articles setting out basic principles and defending the occupancy-and-use standard for land ownership, including discussions with Edgeworth and Auberon Herbert:

Next come a series of discussions on Henry George‘s theories on land tenure and the single tax:

Followed by a long debate with the correspondent Egoist, on the abolition of the State and the merits of Georgist theory:

Then an exchange with Stephen T. Byington, later a major translator of anarchist works into English, on whether a free market will eliminate economic rent; if so, how; and if not, whether Georgist confiscation of rent is permissible. Tucker makes clear that the notion of liberty that he defends is intimately connected with a defense of private property:

And two short articles in which Tucker argues that Georgist land-tax schemes would result in homesteaders being unjustly evicted from their homes due to increasing population in their neighborhood:

Finally, a collection of short remarks from the On Picket Duty columns of Liberty, focusing almost entirely on debates with Henry George: